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  • Mon, Jul 26 2010
  • 11:07 AM » Mortgage Delinquencies Fall in June, Still Near Record Highs
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 11:07 AM by Google News
    After rising in May, the rate of mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures fell in June.
  • 11:07 AM » Real Estate News: Investors Sink More Cash Into Housing
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 11:07 AM by Google News
    Here is a look at real-estate news in today's WSJ:
  • 9:34 AM » 10 Ways to Cut Government Spending
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 9:34 AM by CNBC
    10 Ways to Cut Government Spending
  • 9:03 AM » SIGTARP and the Failure of HAMP
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 9:03 AM by Seeking Alpha
    Rortybomb submits: Via Annie Lowrey we have This is Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or SIGTARP writing (my bold): Unfortunately, HAMP continues to struggle to achieve its original stated objective, to help millions of homeowners avoid foreclosure “by reducing monthly payments to sustainable levels.” Despite a seemingly ever increasing array of HAMP-related initiatives designed to encourage participation in the program, the number of homeowners being helped through permanent modifications remains anemic, with fewer than 400,000 ongoing permanent modifications…and HAMP has not put an appreciable dent in foreclosure filings. Indeed, the number of trial and permanent modifications that have been cancelled substantially exceeds the number of homeowners helped through permanent modifications.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 9:03 AM » EU Stress Test Criteria Were Not Realistic, Roubini Says
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 9:03 AM by CNBC
    The pan-European stress tests on the banking sector were not tough enough to reflect future worsening conditions for the continent's economy, Nouriel Roubini told
  • 8:37 AM » Private Investment?
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 8:37 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    The WSJ is Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as saying it is time for private investment to take over from government stimulus: “We need to make that transition now to a recovery led by private investment,” Mr. Geithner said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ... “I think the most likely thing is you’ll see an economy that gradually strengthens over the next year or two, you’ll see job growth start to come back, investments expanding ... but we’ve got a long way to go still,” Mr. Geithner said. I this last week - in most sectors of the economy there is over capacity or too much supply (housing), so there is no reason for significant new private investment. Earlier today: Yesterday: Sovereign default Part 5B.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:36 AM » More State and Local Government Layoffs and the Pension Crisis
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 8:36 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Tom Abate at the San Fransicso Chronicle: The recent layoff of 80 police officers in Oakland could be the harbinger of things to come ... "This is not unique to Oakland," said Ron Cottingham, president of the Police Officers Research Association of California. "Stockton is having this happen. So is Sacramento." The author argues that many of these layoffs are happening because pensions are straining state and local government budgets. The article contains some information on a and the size of most pensions: [T]he city of Bell (Los Angeles County) ... has been paying its city manager nearly $800,000 a year and setting him and other highly paid local officials up for huge pensions. Scandals like this fuel public outrage and overshadow the reality that while abuses occur, and fatter pension payouts are on the rise, the average CalPERS beneficiary currently gets just over $24,000 a year, and 78 percent of all the fund's recipients get $36,000 or less. The pension problem is a long term issue, but in the short term, the state and local government layoffs will contribute to the unemployment problem.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:35 AM » More new condo inventory
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 8:35 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Another update on condos as shadow inventory ... From Roger Vincent at the LA Times: The prices, exceeding $2,700 per square foot, were a record high for Los Angeles-area condos. ... In recognition that times have changed, developer Related Cos. reduced prices as much as 25% on the building's 140 units. ... About 25% of the building's residential space has been sold or is in escrow ... A handful of other deluxe condominium projects have opened in recent months So 75% are still for sale. There are some areas - like and Miami - that have a huge number of vacant high rise condos. But there are also many smaller buildings that are mostly vacant in a number of cities (like in , , , and ). Unless the high rise condos are listed for sale, they are not included in either the new home inventory report (from the Census Bureau) or the existing home inventory report (from NAR). They are part of the shadow inventory ...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:34 AM » Three Questionable Housing Related Reports
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 8:34 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Here are the European bank by country and bank. From MarketWatch: Since there are plenty of reports on the stress tests, I'd like to comment on three housing related reports that readers have emailed me today ... 1) The FHA There are some reports out today that the FHA is "broke". This is based on an entry in the that I on last week. What is important about the notice is the FHA is tightening standards - like cutting seller concessions in half - and this is the public notice of these changes. These changes will become effective after the 30 day comment period - or in mid-August. But the "breaking" reports focused on this statement in the Federal Register: A recently issued independent actuarial study shows that the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF) capital ratio has fallen below its statutorily mandated threshold. Uh, that is not news. The study was back in November 2009! 2) Fed MBS Program There is a story out today about how the Fed was still buying MBS after March 31st! That would be news, but the evidence was that MBS was still showing up on the Fed's balance sheet. I covered this several times, but it takes a few months for the purchases to settle on the Fed's balance sheet (see: the from SIFMA: "To-Be-Announced" Trading of Agency Passthrough Securities). Here is what I in March: The coming increase in the Fed's balance sheet (and the expansion of the Supplementary Financing Program (SFP) over the same period) are related to the MBS settling on the Fed's balance sheet. Now that the short term liquidity facilities are finished - the balance sheet will increase by about $200 billion over the next couple of months as the remaining MBS settle. The Fed stopped buying on March 31st (I even predicted some people would be fooled by the increase of the Fed's balance sheet!). Update: I'm not referring to this Bloomberg about a minor adjustment in holdings. 3) Lenders holding REO off market There is a report arguing...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:33 AM » Do Deficits Matter? Not to US Bond Buyers
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 8:33 AM by The Big Picture
    At the Agora conference, I addressed deficit concerns by discussing the record low yield on US Treasuries. If the investing universe was so concerned about deficits, why the record low yield? Part of the answer is the lack of alternatives. Where else are you going to park yield seeking money? Euro denominated issues? UK debt? Japanese bonds, emerging markets? Amongst the motley crew of sovereign debt issuers, the US Treasury is the least ugly girl at the dance. I believe my exact phrase was “ In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king .” This morning, I see noting that US two-year notes are selling with the lowest interest rates — ever: “The combination of record-low yields on two-year notes, 10- year rates below 3 percent and a deficit projected to surpass $1.4 trillion for a second consecutive year is a signal that the bond market is less concerned with government spending than with getting the economy back on track. . . While investors forced European governments to cut spending and grapple with their sovereign debt crisis and pushed yields on two-year Greek debt to 18 percent, demand at Treasury auctions is the highest on record. By keeping borrowing costs near record lows, investors are providing the Obama administration with the opportunity to pursue additional stimulus measures before demanding a reduction in the deficit.” Go figure. The usual suspects have got it wrong again . . . > > Source: Daniel Kruger and Rebecca Christie Bloomberg, July 26 2010
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 8:32 AM » Some Thoughts on the Bush Tax “Cuts” Expiration
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 8:32 AM by The Big Picture
    I am winging my way home from Canada, flying over Minnesota into Wisconsin. I am catching up with some reading, but I had to comment on all the Sturm und Drang about the expiration of the Bush Tax “cuts.” A few thoughts: • Temporary Stimulus : These tax cuts were passed as temporary tax cuts to stimulate an economy coming out of a recession. (At least, that was the sales pitch). As I have noted in these pages, that is appropriate government recession policy: Stimulate now, reduce deficit later. Of course, if these were really geared towards that purpose, they should have expired after 3 years or so. • Inherent Gimmick : When a sunset provision is used to obscure how much tax cuts actually cost, you have a marketing gimmick Now, because of that precise gimmick, they are about to go away. Lesson to future administrations: If you really want permanent tax cuts, well, then you should pass, um, permanent tax cuts. And if you cannot sell an expensive tax cut to the public, perhaps that might be telling you something… • Unfunded Tax Cuts : You will note that the I have the word “Cuts” in quotes. Why? To quote Milton Friedman, “When is a tax cut not a tax cut? When the so-called tax cut is accompanied by a larger rise in government spending than in prices.” In other words, all unfunded tax cuts — including these — are actually future tax increases on the next generation. • Offsetting Spending : Of course, if the tax argument wasn’t a debate between cowards on one side and liars on the other, we would actually be discussing, as per Friedman, what spending to cut: Entitlements, Military, Education, etc. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that healthy debate to take place. ~~~ Any thoughts on this subject ? (Note that I have only discussed facts, not my opinion about whether this should stay or go . . . )
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 8:31 AM » Government Mortgage Mods: Failure, or Just Flawed?
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 8:31 AM by Google News
    A series of data and reports this week begs the question: Has the Obama administration’s signature effort to help prevent foreclosures been a total flop—or just a partial one?
  • 8:31 AM » Ranieri: Mortgage Securities Didn’t Cause Housing Crash
    Published Mon, Jul 26 2010 8:31 AM by Google News
    Lewis Ranieri, the father of mortgage securitization, wants people to know his creation isn't to blame for the housing crash.
  • Fri, Jul 23 2010
  • 1:52 PM » Scores line up for loan help in D.C.
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 1:52 PM by Washington Post
    More than 160 homeowners lined up in downtown Washington before dawn Friday in hopes of obtaining better terms on their home loans with help from the housing advocacy group Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. - - - -
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 1:37 PM » New Liability Has Ratings Agencies Cautious
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 1:37 PM by CNBC
    New Liability Has Ratings Agencies Cautious
  • 1:37 PM » NCSHA Comments Call for Strong GSE Support for Affordable Housing and HFAs
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 1:37 PM by National Council of State Housing Agencies
    NCSHA submitted its to HUD and Treasury on July 21 and comments on read more
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Council of State Housing Agencies
  • 1:21 PM » Real-Estate News: Loan Mod Mishaps, Homes with Tennis Courts
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 1:21 PM by Google News
    Here's a look at real-estate news in today's WSJ:
  • 1:21 PM » Gallup: Americans Losing Faith in Congress, Not Happy With Banks or Big Business
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 1:21 PM by WSJ
    Gallup is out with the results of its always-intriguing annual survey of Americans’ views on our national institutions -- and it looks particularly bad for Congress, and not too good for banks or big business either.
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 8:41 AM by HUD
    WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it will launch multiple investigations into the lending practices of certain mortgage lenders to determine if they illegally denied families mortgages because the mother is pregnant or a family member is experiencing a short-term disability. The action follows a report published this week in the New York Times outlining the lending practices of some lenders which might possibly violate the Fair Housing Act.
  • 8:41 AM » Fed Holds Mortgage Securities and a Dilemma
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 8:41 AM by NY Times
    Keeping the securities could cost the central bank money and make it harder to fight inflation, while selling them could drain money from the economy.
  • 8:40 AM » HUD Accepting Complaints About Mortgage Lenders
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 8:40 AM by NY Times
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development will investigate the practices of certain lenders to make sure borrowers haven't been illegally denied a mortgage because of a pregnancy or short-term disability.
  • 8:25 AM » White House Pick on Bank Regulator Nearing
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 8:25 AM by WSJ
    There’s been a tremendous amount of buzz over who the White House is going to pick to run the new consumer financial protection regulator, but the Obama administration has another difficult decision to make in the next few weeks: a nominee to run the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
  • 8:25 AM » Bernanke says further easing hinges on jobs
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 8:25 AM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve may try to push borrowing costs even lower if the job market continues to languish, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Thursday, offering a hint of what might trigger additional monetary easing.
  • 8:25 AM » How Will Mary Schapiro Fix the Ratings Agency Mess?
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 8:25 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: The biggest unintended consequences of Dodd-Frank to date is the fact that the market in asset-backed securities , with Ford pulling a deal which was going to be more than $1 billion. There are two related issues here. The first is the , which had prevented investors from being able to sue ratings agencies if the ratings turned out to be wrong. There has been lots of of the ratings agencies “going on strike” — but technically the ratings agencies have never given their permission for their ratings to be used in bond prospectuses. Instead, the banks got the ratings in there anyway by dint of Rule 436(g), which basically allowed the ratings to be included even without permission from the ratings agencies themselves. Now that the rule has effectively been repealed, they can’t do that any more.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:09 AM » DataQuick: California Notice of Default Filings Decline in Q2
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 8:09 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Click on graph for larger image in new window. This graph shows the Notices of Default (NOD) by year through 2009, and for the first half of 2010, in California from DataQuick. Although the pace of filings has slowed, it is still very high by historical standards. From DataQuick: The number of California homes pushed into the formal foreclosure process between April and June dropped for the fifth consecutive quarter to the lowest level in three years. The declines were greatest in the most affordable areas, where foreclosure activity continues to fall from extremely high levels over the past two years, a real estate information service reported. A total of 70,051 Notices of Default ("NODs") were filed at county recorder offices during the April-to-June period. That was down 13.6 percent from 81,054 for the prior quarter, and down 43.8 percent from 124,562 in second-quarter 2009, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick. Last quarter's total was the lowest since second-quarter 2007, when 53,943 NODs were recorded. The peak was in first-quarter 2009 when 135,431 homeowners received foreclosure notices. "Obviously, motivated sellers and accommodating lenders have played a part in bringing the default filings down, especially when it comes to short sales . Public policy has also been a factor. We also need to remember that prices have come up off bottom over the past year . If they continue to rise, fewer homeowners will find themselves under water, which is a significant factor in letting a home go," said John Walsh, DataQuick president. ... The number of Trustees Deeds (TDs) recorded, which reflect the number of houses or condo units lost at the end of the foreclosure process, totaled 47,669 during the second quarter. That was up 11.2 percent from 42,857 for the prior quarter, and up 4.4 percent from 45,667 for second-quarter 2009. The all-time peak was 79,511 in third- quarter 2008. As I've noted before, in terms of new NOD filings the peak...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:09 AM » European Stress Tests and Bond Spreads
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 8:09 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Tomorrow the (CEBS) will release the stress test results for 91 European Banks. The results will be released at 6:00 PM CEST (Central European Summer Time). That would be noon ET, although a few reports have suggested earlier release times (perhaps time conversion problems - something I'm familiar with). Here is the on timing: The results of the stress test will be released, both on an aggregated and on a bank-by-bank basis, on 23 July 2010, starting at 18.00 hrs CEST. At 18.00 hrs CEST, CEBS will publish on its website the results of the exercise on an aggregated basis, in the form of a summary report, accompanied by a press release presenting the main conclusions as regards the resilience of the EU banking sector. From 18.00 hrs CEST, the banks' individual results of the exercise will be published by banks and/or their national supervisory authorities, on their respective websites. A summary of the 91 bank-by-bank results, sorted by country, will be republished on CEBS’s website with links to the websites of the participating national authorities, foreseen around 18.30 hrs CET. A restricted press conference will be held at CEBS’s premises in London at 19:00 hrs CEST. Invitations will be sent separately. A broadcast of the press conference will be available via CEBS’s website. In advance, here is a look at European bond spreads from the Atlanta Fed weekly released today (graph as of July 21st): Click on graph for larger image in new window. From the Atlanta Fed: Peripheral European bond spreads (over German bonds) have declined from recent highs but remain extremely elevated. Since the June FOMC meeting, the 10-year Greece-to-German bond spread has narrowed by nearly 40 basis points (bps) (from 8.01% to 7.62%) through July 20. Other European peripherals’ spreads have also narrowed, with Portugal lower by 25 bps over the period and Spain 24 bps lower. Note: The Atlanta Fed data is a couple days old. Nemo has links to the current data on the sidebar of his . Here...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:09 AM » Fewer Americans See College as Good Investment
    Published Fri, Jul 23 2010 8:09 AM by WSJ
    As the price of higher education continues to rise through a shaky economic recovery, fewer Americans are considering college a good investment, especially compared to other needs for savings.
  • Thu, Jul 22 2010
  • 3:38 PM » Which Cities’ Workers Bring Home Highest Wages?
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 3:38 PM by WSJ
    San Francisco area workers brought home the highest pay last year -- 20% more than the national average.
  • 3:37 PM » For Bakersfield Builder, Rentals Are ‘Cutting-Edge’ Solution
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 3:37 PM by Google News
    The housing crash has forced a California land developer to don a different hat: Landlord.
  • 3:36 PM » Signs of Change in the Nation's Foreclosure Capital
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 3:36 PM by CNBC
    Signs of Change in the Nation's Foreclosure Capital
  • 3:35 PM » Good Sign for Economy? Americans on the Move Again
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 3:35 PM by CNBC
    Good Sign for Economy? Americans on the Move Again
  • 3:34 PM » For Housing, Market Is 'Stabilizing' at Wrong Levels
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 3:34 PM by CNBC
    For Housing, Market Is 'Stabilizing' at Wrong Levels
  • 3:33 PM » HUD to Investigate Mortgage Loan Denials
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 3:33 PM by CNBC
    HUD to Investigate Mortgage Loan Denials
  • 3:33 PM » Predicting Home Prices a Perilous Prospect
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 3:33 PM by CNBC
    Don't be fooled by the little uptick in home prices in today's Existing Home Sales report from the National Association of Realtors. That was the message from the Realtors themselves!
  • 3:32 PM » Real Estate Agents Want BP Payback
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 3:32 PM by CNBC
    "I'm hearing from them constantly." That's what Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of a $20 billion oil spill compensation fund, told members of Congress. Them? Real estate agents and brokers. "They make a credible argument," he adds.
  • 11:07 AM » U.S. Monthly House Price Index Rises 0.5 Percent From April to May
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 11:07 AM by FHFA
    July 22, 2010: U.S. Monthly House Price Index Rises 0.5 Percent From April to May
  • 10:36 AM » Office Vacancy, Lease Rates and New Investment
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 10:36 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Voit Real Estate released their today for CRE in Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, Orange County and several other southwest cities. These two graphs from the O.C. office report really tell a story ... Click on graph for larger image in new window. The first graph shows the vacancy rate and amount of new construction. Notice that new construction has fallen to almost zero this year, and the vacancy rate in Q2 was 18.34%, slightly above the Q1 rate of 18.21%. Look back at the early '90s when the vacancy rate was at about the same level (in '93 and '94), there was very little building for the next three years even with the vacancy rate falling. These is so much excess capacity that there is no need for new investment for some time. The second graph shows the average full-service monthly lease rate per sq ft. This is just asking rates, but it looks like rents are off about 25% to 30%, and are back to 1999 levels. Party like it's 1999! This is just one area, but something similar is happening in most cities around the country. This also shows up in the that showed contraction again in June. Historically the billings index will turn up 6 to 9 months before an increase in non-residential structure investment - there is a long way to go!
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 10:36 AM » Economists Take Gloomier Views of Housing Market
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 10:36 AM by Google News
    Housing analysts are taking a dimmer view of the outlook for U.S. home prices amid signs of weaker demand.
  • 10:36 AM » Awful Real-Estate Listing Photos: How Not to Take Them
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 10:36 AM by Google News
    With the market in a post tax-credit slump, you'd think home sellers would be bringing their A-game in trying to unload their property. But a search through some recent home listings reveals some pretty horrid house photos.
  • 10:35 AM » Foreclosures Should Continue to Pressure Housing as Modifications Grind to a Halt
    Published Thu, Jul 22 2010 10:35 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: The Treasury reported that only , and the uptrend from early 2009 has all but flatlined. click to enlarge images
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
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